Today, I was able to go home…not to my home, but to someone’s home. The home of my friend Dan’s host family, to make dinner in a real kitchen and have access to more than one pot at a time(!) I can’t even begin to express how happy this made me. We’re pretty limited in our supplies and appliances here at the Fondation, so cooking in a fully stocked kitchen was a blessing.
On the menu this evening: sauteed chicken in a lime-cilantro marinade, topped with a mango-tomato-avocado salsa; rice; asparagus; and for dessert- baked pears with walnuts, drizzled in maple syrup. Sadly, I left my camera at home so you’ll just have to take my word that it was pretty damn good.
It was a great opportunity, too, to hang out with Dan’s host sister and her boyfriend, and actually speak French. Writing French is not really a problem for me, because I can look words up in the dictionary, perfect my verb tenses and proofread for mistakes. Speaking is most definitely my weakest area, because it forces me to think on my feet and assemble my ideas into grammatically correct sentences quickly (not to mention, conversation also confronts my second weakest point- listening and understanding). Spending time with real, live French people, in which I’m forced to speak the language, is the only way to improve. Do I often feel silly about the mistakes that I make in every other sentence? Yep, sure do. But I really could not have asked for nicer or more patient conversationalists than Dan’s friends. And hey, any day that I get to discuss the merits of American rap vs. French rap is a good day.
Earlier today, I took a walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg for the first time. Although it’s right across the street from where two of my classes are held, the bitter cold weather of the past few weeks has eradicated my desire to meander casually through Paris’ many parks. Today, however, was absolutely gorgeous. I grabbed a coffee from Macdo (don’t judge me; it’s cheap and comes in an almost-big enough cup), and wandered through. I happened upon the spot where the original Statue of Liberty usually stands; however, I learned that Lady Liberty had been removed for restoration in December and won’t be back until this summer.
It’s a gorgeous park, and I can’t wait to return later in spring when everything is in full bloom.